Posts Tagged ‘carnival’

Ocean Beach Fun

Friday, July 17th, 2015

There’s a commercial they play on the radio all summer proclaiming that Ocean Beach in New London is one of the finest “sugar sand” beaches in the country. Having been to New London a couple times, I was extremely skeptical of that claim.

We have some lovely beaches in Connecticut, but nothing I would call amazing. It can actually be pretty hard to get to the coast around here, since so much of it is privately owned or controlled by the state. The beaches are also a little boring, since Long Island shelters our coast to the point that there are very few waves. It’s nice for toddlers but not so much for boogie boarding. If I want to pay money to sit by still water I’ll stick to my lake membership where I can also drink beer, chat with my friends and let my kids run to the bathroom without worrying someone is going to steal my stuff.

But as much as I love the lake is not the ocean and I am an ocean girl at heart. The idea of living in a state without an ocean coast is unthinkable – if I ever say I am moving to the midwest someone please have my head examined. If living on a sailboat was a viable option with 3 kids and no money, I would do it in a second.

All that info was the lead-up to me saying: We finally went to Ocean Beach! Although I still can’t tell you about the sugar-like qualities of the sand since we never even stepped foot on it. We did enjoy ourselves though, especially the kids. They do a Cruise Night on Mondays, where people bring their fancy/antique/really proud of themselves even though I’m pretty sure that’s just a 98 Miata cars and the oldies station plays classic music. I like old cars and Frankie Valli enough, but what I really like is free stuff. The parking and admission are free, plus the kid rides have an $11 wristband option, so even including the one ride down the waterslide for Evan our entire output for 3 hours was $25. Usually that’s how much they charge just to PARK.

Just a friendly warning in case you wanted to check it out:- the rides are…questionable. At one point I noticed the carousel was powered by an extension cord that ran into the (slight abandoned??) building adjacent to it through a hole someone drilled in a window. I noticed because I was keeping my eye on the SKUNK that had wandered across the path between rides. Skunk. At the beach. Sure, why not? The rides are exactly the same stuff you would find at a smallish town fair, except they live there at the beach all summer so they’re not in tip-top condition. They still looked SAFE, just not…new. The rust was just on the decorative parts.

Listen though, I am NOT knocking Ocean Beach. We had a really great time. The kids were in heaven. After they rode all the rides without waiting in a single line we walked over to the splash pad and they all got soaked for an hour. We never even made it to the mini golf, onto the playground or down to the actual ocean. Just being on a boardwalk where they sell over-priced, over-greased fried seafood that sea gulls try to steal out of your hand is all I need.

Linc spent most of the evening on my back so he didn’t get to ride anything. He did like the splash park though. He was born missing the healthy fear of things that might kill him gene. It can be both fun and exhausting. Mostly it’s fun.

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Evan’s First Birthday: Photo Booth

Wednesday, April 7th, 2010

I couldn’t find a good spot for the photo booth so ended up hanging it in front of my china cabinet. The lighting was not the best and I didn’t manage to get everyone but it was still a super cute idea. I would recommend assigning someone to catch all the guests as them come in the door and forcing them to engage in your fun photo opportunity. Including the noses!!

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Evan’s First Birthday: Decorations

Tuesday, April 6th, 2010

Although my plan was to save money by making all the decorations for Evan’s circus birthday party, it didn’t take long for things to get out of hand with my budget. (Or at least that’s what WOULD have happened if I’d had a budget to begin with. I’ve never been good with numbers.) I would have been better off ordering a couple banners off Etsy, picking up paper plates and cups at the dollar store, plopping a hat on everyone’s head and calling it good. So don’t come around here looking for cheap party tips because I don’t have any. If you want inspiration, cute ideas or hints on where to find circus themed stuff, then by all means keep reading.

circus birthday party wreath

I decided I needed a wreath for the door at 9 pm Friday night. It’s tissue paper on cardboard.

circus birthday party banner

Banner on the front porch. Craft paper from JoAnn Fabric.

circus birthday party banner

Playbill font on craft store paper.

circus birthday party banner

I pushed our buffet in front of the fireplace to keep the kids out and used it as a cake table. The photos on the mantle were done by Nina Benjamin, a local photographer. Tablecloth is just a couple yards of fabric from Joann’s. Circus tray is vintage from my grandmother, crown is from Michael’s crafts with a little felt badge I made glued on.

circus birthday party banner

I used “Coffee Tin”, a free font I downloaded, and printed on paper rectangles I bought at the craft store. No cutting involved!

circus birthday party decorations

Popcorn boxes from the $1 section of Target, wind up clowns, gumball machines and pin wheels from the dollar store.

circus birthday party decorations

Prizes for the older kids, although the games were so disorganized I just handed them out to whoever I could find.

circus birthday party decorations

Origami circus animals from Michael’s.

circus birthday party decorations

I bought a 50-balloon helium tank from BJ’s for $22 and used ALL of it. Balloons outside, balloons inside, balloons on the ceiling, balloons on the staircase.

circus birthday party decorations

BALLOOOOOOOONS!

circus birthday party decorations

My proudest and most frustrating decoration – I cut every single one of these tiny triangles out by hand and sewed them together one at a time in a looooooooog streamer.

circus birthday party clown noses

Clown noses ordered from Oriental Trading Co, free circus font downloaded from internet, tablecloth is fabric from Joann’s

circus birthday party napkins

Napkins from Celebrate Express (seriously, they had some good stuff)

circus birthday party games

Games: clothespin drop, pin the nose on the clown, coloring pages of (non-scary) clow faces

circus birthday party decorations

ALL those little circus graphics are actually from favor boxes I bought at Christmas Tree Shops. I cut them up and used them as my theme and color scheme. The silverware holders are actually pencil holders from the $1 section at Target. Tickets from iParty.

circus birthday party guest book

I ordered a photo book from Snapfish with a 30% off coupon code and left a few pages blank in the back to use as a guest book. The photos are a recap of Baby Evan’s first year.

circus birthday party games

Bean bag toss – the cloth was purchased at Target on clearance, E built the backing. Extra bean bags bought at Christmas Tree Shop.

circus birthday party photo booth

More fabric from Joann’s, top hat and mustache from local party store, baby suspenders from Belt Outlet online.

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Evan’s First Birthday: Food

Monday, April 5th, 2010

I spent so much time painstakingly cutting out paper triangles, sewing yards of banner and hunting down just exactly the right font for my invitations that I completely forgot about providing food for Evan’s circus birthday party until the last minute. All I had planned was cake and candy and – although those are two of MY favorite food groups – I don’t think most people consider Pixie Stix and fondant a balanced meal. Also, I thought maybe giving all the kids an option besides SUGAR SUGAR SUGAR SUGAR SUUUUUUUGAAAAAAAAAAAAAR would be a wise choice. I’m all about the wise choices.

I tried to stick with my circus/carnival theme, which made munchy, snacky food a good option. Here’s what we ended up with:

Popcorn
Hot dogs
Soft pretzels
Cotton candy
Nachos
Animal crackers
Fruit
Salt water taffy
Rita’s Italian Ice
Cake
Jones Soda
Pink and Yellow Lemonade
…and a whole bunch of random candy I used as decoration rather than food.

first birthday circus cake

Circus cake by Amanda, covered in homemade fondant, top layer is rice krispie treat, second layer vanilla, bottom is chocolate. Delicious AND gorgeous!

circus birthday party food

Dining room table buffet. The empty bowl is for the giant soft pretzels. Also missing: nacho dip.

My mom cut up GALLONS of fruit because she loves me and would like to let me keep all my fingers

circus birthday party food

$10 popcorn machine from Craigslist, boxes from party store online

circus birthday party food cotton candy

Mini-cotton candy bags bought in bulk from BJ’s (Circus tray from Goodwill)

circus birthday party food hot dog

Hot dog trays from iParty, old-fashioned ketchup & mustard from grocery store

circus birthday party food

Jar from a flea market, animal crackers from Target, candy stand from TJMaxx, taffy from Christmas Tree Shops

circus birthday party drinks

The lemonade has lemons floating in it, the pink lemonade has pink ice cubes with cherries in them. Cups from Celebrate Express online, straws from grocery store, milkglass vase from flea market, drink pitches from Target.

circus birthday party drinks

Rita’s Ice! I got a 2.5 gallon party bucket, which was MORE than enough and they let me borrow a scoop and gave me free cups. Loooooove Rita’s!

circus birthday party smash cake

Vanilla smash cake with buttercream frosting for Baby Evan – the pictures are FANTASTIC. It was a GREAT idea thought of and baked by Amanda. Cake stand is mine from a flea market.

Check out more party posts including circus party decorations and our circus party photo booth.

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